– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Operation George’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Stephen Bentley is a former UK police Detective Sergeant, pioneering undercover cop, and barrister. He is now a freelance writer and an occasional contributor to Huffington Post UK on undercover policing and mental health issues.
Stephen also writes crime fiction in a fast-paced plot-driven style including the Steve Regan Undercover Cop Thriller and the Detective Matt Deal Thriller series.
Meet the real Line of Duty ™ undercover team in this previously untold and gripping story of how a Northern Irish terrorist and murderer and one of his followers, were caught in an audacious and brilliantly executed undercover sting on the English mainland, codenamed, Operation George.
In 2006 at Belfast Crown Court, William James Fulton, a principal in the outlawed Loyalist Volunteer Force, was jailed for life and sentenced to a minimum of 28 years after the longest trial in Northern Ireland’s legal history.
Fulton was an early suspect in the Rosemary Nelson killing. Following the murder of the prominent human rights lawyer, he fled to the United States and, with help from the FBI in collusion with the British police, he was deported. On his arrival at Heathrow, Fulton ‘walked through an open door,’ a Lewis Carrol-like euphemism for an invitation created by the covert team, only to disappear ‘down the rabbit hole’ on accepting the invitation.
That ‘rabbit hole’ led to an alternative world: an environment created and controlled by the elite covert team and only inhabited by the undercover officers and their targets. The subterfuge encouraged the terrorist targets into believing Fulton was working for a Plymouth-based ‘criminal firm’ over a period spanning almost two years. In that time, over fifty thousand hours of conversations between the ‘firm’ members were secretly recorded and used to bring the killer to justice.
This unique story is told by former undercover officer Mark Dickens who was part of an elite team of undercover detectives who took part in ‘Operation George,’ one of the most remarkable covert policing operations the world has ever known. You won’t know him under that name nor the many aliases he adopted as an undercover police officer infiltrating organised crime gangs.
Together in ‘Operation George,’ with pioneering Operation Julie undercover officer and bestselling author, Stephen Bentley, they have written a gripping account of a unique story reminiscent of the premise of ‘The Sting’ film, and the ‘Bloodlands’ setting, combining a true-crime page-turner with a fascinating insight into early 21st-century covert policing.
The publisher wishes to make clear by using the Line of Duty™, there is no implied association with the Line of Duty series nor World Productions Ltd and the trademark is attributed to World Productions Ltd.
‘Operation George’ is brilliant! It’s a unique insight into the undercover world, the ingenious tactics, the outwardly serene UCOs and the fastidious adherence to rules and training are nothing like I’ve ever read before.
Devoting the majority of the second half of the book to the trial was inspired. It’s all very well for readers to have that amazing peek into the undercover world (and the way the team created a totally illusionary one for Fulton at huge potential risk to themselves given his background and connections) but to show how the evidence obtained stands or falls in court does the whole tactic justice.’ – Graham Bartlett, former UK senior police officer and co-author with international best seller, Peter James, of a Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling non-fiction book, Death Comes Knocking – Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton.
“I need you to do a bit of work with Robbie for a few days. You okay with that, Jimmy?’ Neil asked.
“I’m yer man,” Jimmy replied, all too keen to impress Neil, and he was now on the payroll of the Plymouth gang.
“Okay then. Meet him at the Port O’ Call at eight tomorrow morning,” Neil instructed.
Plymouth’s Port O’ Call café was near to the Hoe and a regular meeting spot for Jimmy and the UCOs. It served what some call a ‘big boys’ or ‘fat boys’ breakfast. Others call that huge cholesterol laden English breakfast by other names, one of which is amusing and often used in Sheffield – ‘the full train smash.’ Over breakfast, Robbie said, “Right, we’re going to have a drive up to Slough. There’re loads of industrial estates there and we need to have a mooch around and check out a trailer worth nicking. I’m told there is, but I need to see with my own eyes.”
“Right yer are, Robbie,” Jimmy said, delighted to be placed in a position of trust within the firm.
It was mission accomplished in that Robbie and Jimmy would be spending five hours or more together in the confines of a car wired for sound, as was Robbie. The people who’d listen to those tapes were located many miles from Plymouth and buried away in a police headquarters back office. They would listen after the event and make notes before passing the tapes on to the transcribers. Those transcripts were typed documents and, in the future, would be used as evidential material in the case against Fulton and Gibson.
In one revealing moment during that recording, Jimmy laughed about when he’d invite people round to tea. He went on to explain that in his world back in Northern Ireland getting invited around for your tea means you’re going to get punished – a shooting or kneecapping. He did so with a laugh and a smile in his eyes. Robbie stayed calm… and silent. Fulton went on to demonstrate to Robbie how he’d kneecap somebody. If it were somebody he liked, he’d put it through the fleshy bit of the thigh, close to the knee. If it were somebody that he didn’t like and deserved the worst he could possibly get, he’d put the bullet through his kneecap and cripple them for life. All through this, Fulton laughed and joked and suddenly switched to how he had grown up in Belfast. Robbie gained the impression Fulton wasn’t a soldier. He wouldn’t have gone gun to gun – mano a mano. But Robbie remained silent, keeping his innermost thoughts private.
With every recording it felt like they were getting closer to snaring Jimmy Fulton, but he still hadn’t mentioned the Rosemary Nelson murder. After some consultation the team decided to up the stakes. In three weeks they would stage a lorry theft. By upping the stakes like that, they could convince Jimmy how serious they were. The question remained: would he finally give them what they needed, or would everything unravel before they got their man?
The Magic of Wor(l)ds